In the old days, we artists used to use art in the normal sense of the word. Art was something that was typically created by the artist, whether it be painted, snapped or manipulated in some way or fashion. Then it is was stretched, printed, and then placed in some format. It’s final resting place typically was on a wall and was surrounded by large expanses of wood that we call “a frame.” This is when I have to ask–who said that art had to be art if it was surrounded by a frame?

The Mother Baby Center that resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota on the Children’s Hospital of Minnesota Campus is a prime example of the culture shift and change in how art is used and implemented. There was no doubt that art had to be a part of this project. This project was to bring a new element in care that currently was not being met in this marketplace. This city has a wonderful Children’s Facility treating the sick children in the area starting from birth and as they progress. This new concept brought both facilities together using a holistic care model that would provide high-risk mothers with an alternative for their high-risk babies.

348-ORIG-a77d826f8355c3e7Evidence-based design research states that providing positive distractions is key to the wellness and care of patients. In addition, this same positive distraction provides an outlet for the staff that are continuously surrounded and enveloped in this environment. Artwork is one key element to provide this type of distraction and in most cases provide a positive outcome. In addition artwork has an innate feature of transporting you from the place you are to a familiar place, a place you want to be and want to go to. But did we every really think that “art” could become this iconic element or become this image that is stretched to proportions that almost seemed to be unachievable? That is exactly how the paradigm change happened: doing something typical in a very untypical way. That became the story of what made this so successful.

The paradigm of only providing art in the typical format, that of a frame within certain dimension is now gone. By pushing the limits and providing a canvas that is only that of one’s mind, a designer now has the freedom to think beyond the format in which they have always been confined. The technology to capture artwork through poetic illumination is there with Forms + Surfaces beautiful light panels. Digital media and printing brings the color and hue to new levels and saturation. You can literally feel the presence of the iconic image, within arm’s reach.

–Aneetha McLellan, Associate VP & director of Interior Architecture at HDR Architecture